Although he remains undecided on whether to approve the multinational nuclear agreement with Iran, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told several hundred Jewish listeners from New Jersey he is weighing his concern about the security of the United States and Israel against potential benefits of the deal.
Speaking on an Aug. 5 conference call, Booker said he is continuing to study the agreement, using both open and classified data.
But he said he was troubled by Iran’s continuing “heinous acts” in funding terrorism, and feared one of the results of the deal would be to pour even more money into such groups as Hamas and Hizbullah after economic sanctions against Iran are lifted.
The call, sponsored jointly by the State Association of Jewish Federations, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League, was arranged by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and the Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ.
A press spokesman for Booker told participating members of the media that the entire discussion was “off the record.” But according to a participant who asked not to be named, the senator expressed many doubts about the deal.
The source said Booker was troubled by the frequent Iranian expressions of “death to America” and “death to the Zionists” and believes that within 15 years — after most terms of the deal expire — Iran will have the capacity to build nuclear weapons.
Booker predicted the Republican-led House and Senate would vote to kill the deal. Two-thirds of either chamber of Congress must vote no to override a veto.
However, if it is vetoed, Booker said, he does not believe the other nations that participated in the negotiations would be willing to return to the bargaining table.
According to the source, the senator also said he is also looking seriously at the implications of what rebuffing the president and the secretary of state will have in terms of impact on the power and prestige of the United States.
Later, in a statement e-mailed to NJJN, Booker wrote, “My position has not wavered — A nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable threat to American security, to the safety of our allies, and to Middle East stability. That’s why the most important question that needs to be asked and answered when evaluating this deal is whether it will credibly prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I continue to carefully weigh the details of this agreement in consultation with experts in both classified and unclassified settings to determine whether America’s security interests are advanced by it. My sincere hope is that they are, but I will hold this deal to a very high standard and in reaching any conclusion will participate in the rigorous Congressional scrutiny a deal of this magnitude warrants.”